Flipping the Switch


brian_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title Flipping the Switch
Synopsis Peyton asks Brian to go for a walk and to help her learn to use her power.
Date August 2, 2009

Village Renaissance Building, Fourth Floor Safehouse

After a couple of days in the safehouse, Peyton has started to feel a bit stir-crazy. Cabin fever. Brian had said to take someone with her if she needed to go out, but she didn't know anyone else well enough to ask. There was Maya, but she didn't particularly feel that Maya could keep her safe — after all, the woman was almost as new at this as she was.

She punches in Brian's number. "Hey… it's Peyton. I was wondering if you could get me out of here for a bit? I can't stand these walls anymore, and there's nothing but soap operas and talk shows on TV. I promise I'll wear something Peyton Whitney would never wear, and no one will recognize me."

"Get ready I'll be there in fifteen."

He had a copy in the area, studying. He's been doing a lot of studying, when he's not working he's taking classes, karate classes, judo classes, anything he can get his hands on he would sink his teeth into. Increasing his knowledge more than any person could comprehend daily, Brian finds that every now and then he deserves a break. And so seventeen minutes exactly after the phonecall, Brian comes stomping down the safehouse corridor towards Gillian's old room, now Peyton's room.

Knock knock

The door swings open. Peyton's definitely not looking like her famous self. She's in old, faded jeans, a Killers t-shirt and a pair of Converse. Her hair is up in a ponytail slipped through a Yankees baseball cap. "Hey," she says with a grin as she looks at Brian. "Thank God. I'm going insane in here, and I need coffee and a bagel. You're buying, because I don't have any cash. By the way… am I allowed to access my money? I mean… I just got a check for $50,000 and it's just sitting in there…" she babbles as she links her arm through his, ready to hit the town. Even if it's only 11 a.m.

"Cute." Brian grunts, giving an 'oof' as she immediately goes to take his arm. Even though it doesn't hurt in any way, he does it anyway. Why? Who knows. He bites his lower lip. "You're not liking it?" He gives a little hum. "Not hanging out with Maya much?"

Reaching back to close the door behind them, he allows himself to be swept off by the much smaller woman. "Fifty thousand? Wow. What do you do with all that?" Brian asks with arched brows. "Not that it's my business. Just saying. That's a lot. And yeah.. we can go get it."

"They don't let you take it all at once, though. Well, the bank would, but it would take some time," she says with a shake of her head. "The ATM, I think only like $300 a day. Weird, 'cause you can charge thousands." She walks alongside him and thinks about the other questions. "Maya's nice, but I didn't feel safe leaving here with her. As for the money… I live off it, silly. I get fifty grand every six months from my trust fund. Food, recreation, travel, shopping. It's not that much. Not… well. I mean, I kinda hang out with people who make so much more than that, it feels like nothing, you know? I know it's not. It's more than I'd make at a job, for sure."

"Some families can only dream of making fifty thousand a year." Brian explains softly, not judgmental, just pointing something out for consideration. Getting to the elevator he taps the button. "It's safe to get your money. I'm sure theyre not after you in full force. Unless you do something stupid, they won't nab you off the street." Leading her into the elevator he examines her for a moment. "This must be a huge adjustment for you, doin okay with that?"

She steps in and pushes the button to the ground floor. "I don't know. I mean… if they're not going to nab me off the street, why am I hiding?" she asks quietly. "And I'm sort of afraid of having another … I don't even know what to call it. Power trip, or whatever." A second later, the elevator dings and opens, and she steps out. "So why am I hiding, if it's safe?"

"I didn't say it was safe. I said, they probably wouldn't nab you off the street. You can register if you want, wait until they do nab you from your bedroom or what have you and force you to spy for them." Stepping out of the elevator, he slips hands into his jacket pockets, while keeping his arm linked with Peyton. Forcing her to step a little closer to him. "I'm not just a crazy conspiracy theorist. It happened to me. So you can trust me when I say, it happens. But if that's what you want.." He waves one hand as if to say 'go right ahead.'

Peyton frowns as he grabs her closer to him. She looks like what she is — a scared and confused little girl. "I just… want my life, you know? And my friend Wendy, she doesn't seem to have a problem, even though she has a power you'd think they would want to spy for them. They did that to you though? Is that why you're helping me?" she asks. "I don't … really, do you think anyone would want me to spy for them? You don't know who I am, do you? Most people wouldn't even trust me to house sit for them, Brian, let alone have some sort of important job."

"You're famousish right?" Brian asks, tilting his head back. "No I don't really know what for. I don't pay much attention." He gives a little shrug. "I'm not telling you one way or the other, Pey. If you want to go register, go register. You can have your life back then. Maybe they'll come a callin' for you, maybe they won't but you'll have your comfortable trust fund life back. And if that's what you want." He gives a shrug as they exit the building. "Then that's what you want. But if you want something.." He trails off, not really knowing how to finish that sentence.

"Where do you want to go?"

"I don't know." The answer is to both the spoken and unspoken questions — where do you want to go, and what do you want to do. She shakes her head and nods to the door out of the building. "Coffee. Bagel. Anywhere but here? Maybe Central Park. Somewhere I can see the sky." She begins to walk, her long, coltish legs making quick work of the distance between the elevator and the floor. "Maybe… you said you could teach me how to use it? I mean… I don't want to use it, but I want to know maybe how to control it, so it can't just turn on like that again. Blindside me." Literally.

"Coffee bagels and central park." Brian murmurs, giving a grin as he walks next to her. "I can teach you how to use it. With my ability, I have several different perspectives, sometimes even more all at once. Like, I'm talking to you, but I also am talking to a guy at the firing range. And doing several other things. I'm doing them all at the exact same time, but I process them all at once also. I like to think that makes me super smart." He gives a nod, confirming that it does indeed make him super smart. "So I'm pretty sure I can train you most of the way. I also have a friend who had a very similar power to yours. He can probably teach you even more. But I can at least teach you how to turn it off. So tell me, what do we know about your power so far." He gives her a look of appraisal, waiting for her answer.

"You can see what they're all seeing at once?" she says, looking at him doubtfully. "I … mine's only one at a time, so far, but the first time it manifested, I was at a club, and my vision kept changing, from what I guess is one person's perspective to another. Like one moment I was looking at my friend, but then I was looking at the ground and then the bartender's reflection and then some guy outside… it was dizzying," she says with a shiver. "The only other time so far is … well, you know, you were there. I was wondering what was happening in the ER when the gun went off, and suddenly I was seeing from his … from his eyes." She rubs her eyes just at the thought of it. "I couldn't turn it off, except when I closed my eyes."

"I can see what I see. There is no they, it's all me." People never get that. It's frustrating. He gives a huff, before focusing entirely on Peyton. "Yeah. I saw you at that club." Brian murmurs. "So it's happened twice, do the two instances have anything in common? Do we know anything about what triggered your manifestation, and your second episode. We need to figure out what are possible triggers."

"I was… drunk… and took a … pill. E. At the club. But it hadn't had enough time to activate yet, so I don't think it was the E," she points out, blushing a little, since she knows he disapproves of that life style. "The second time… I don't know. They didn't give me anything but fluids for dehydration. I was afraid… I don't see a lot of connection. The first time, I wasn't afraid and was drunk, the second time I was afraid and sober."

Brian gives a thoughtful hum. "Well to learn to turn it off, we have to turn it on. So it seems that you being afraid triggers it. Maybe being drunk, but maybe not as that was your original manifestation." He shrugs lightly. "I don't want to dangle you in front of a subway, but we should probably try to get you scared somehow. How do you wanna try that?"

Frowning, Peyton looks at him and shakes her head. "I've been scared since I left the hospital and it hasn't kicked in yet…" she begins, but then remembers she asked him to help her. "I… okay. If you think it will work." She bites her lower lip and looks unhappy. "What are you going to do to scare me?" she asks quietly.

"I don't know. I don't want to force you to do anything you don't want to do. What would make you really frightened? We could.. go stand on the edge of a bridge or something. How do you do with heights?" Brian asks, tilting his head at her.

"I'm not afraid of heights, not usually. I'm … afraid of being alone… I'm afraid of the men in the hospital… and of not being able to see…" the last one comes out sort of as a surprise. The blindness of having to see through another person's perspective, leaving her blind to her own environment frightened her more than anything she's ever experienced. Her eyes begin to tear up just at the thought of experiencing it yet again — and deliberately this time.

"That doesn't give me a whole lot to work with." Brian murmurs as he walks along with her on the sidewalks. Glancing at an alleyway, he motions that they should walk down it. Changing the course of direction, they start down the alleyway. "Well, use that. And try to access it. Take the feelings you felt that one night and use it as a jumping point. See if you can do it alone." Brian suggests, unhooking his arm from hers. Taking a step back he folds his arms over his chest and watches her.

"Sorry. I never really had a lot to fear, growing up, you know?" Peyton murmurs, a tear slipping down her cheek. She steps away from him and stares down at the ground. Closing her eyes won't help, as she won't be able to see through anyone's eyes that way, so she stares at the ground, imagining not being able to see. She thinks back on the sounds and sights of that day, and how close she may have been to dying. She thinks of the losses of just the last few days — her friends, her apartment, her life as she knows it. What had she been thinking, when suddenly she could see through Garrison's eyes… she'd been wondering what was going on, wondering who he was, thinking about him. She bites her lip and thinks about Brian. What does she look like, from his perspective? What does he see as he stands there watching her?

Leaning against one wall, Brian tilts his head back and watches quietly. His eyes flick over to the mouth of the tunnel before flicking back to Peyton. Letting his hands drop he tucks them into his pants, simply watching. He says nothing as to not break up her concentration.

She leans against the wall — simply seeing the ground still. Nothing. If she can't control this power, then it will take over her vision whenever and wherever, with no regard to her safety! That thought makes her more frightened, and she looks up at him for help, about to say something when suddenly, his face is not what she sees — but hers is. Wide eyes, frightened. She almost doesn't recognize herself — the clothing and the expression on her face are so foreign to her. She closes her open mouth, swallows hard, and nods. "I can see from your point of view… Now what?"

"Good work." Brian says softly, peering at her closely. He steps forward. "Fascinating." He murmurs thoughtfully going to scrub at his chin. He takes a walk around her, giving her a full 360 view of herself. Though he makes sure not to let his eyes wander on inappropriate parts, knowing for sure he would be caught he is very strict with his eyes at this moment. Finally he stops short in front of her again. "Now. Turn it off." He says blankly, giving a shrug.

Her eyes are dilated — she looks rather like she's in a trance as she stares straight ahead, her eyes not focused on anything — she does in fact look like a blind woman. Her brows furrow as he tells her to turn it off. She first closes her eyes, but opening them again doesn't do the trick. She looks up, away, and then down, but her frown deepens as those actions prove futile. She begins to get visibly upset, arms hugging herself as she tries to bring back her own vision. "I c-c-can't…"

"You're trying to turn it off with actions that you're used to. Triggers in your mind that you've used before. Your brain is like a room full of switches and levers. Pulling this lever raises your arm, flicking that swtich makes you eat a salad, this lever has you popping E." A disappointed look that she will never see, "You're flicking all the levers you know. But that's not going to work. This is completely new. It's a switch that you've never flicked before." He explains softly. "Find it."

Stepping forward his hands slide onto her shoulders, straightening her out and should she need it to catch her if or when she falls. "You need to get back in your own eyes. Now do it!"

Peyton's hand comes up to her forehead, rubbing it as if trying to find the "switch" there. She stops thinking about her panic, stops thinking about him, and begins to think about herself as a stranger — what is it that's in front of her? What is it that this person is seeing, that she would like to see, too? Suddenly, her own face fades from her view and his form comes back into view. She looks up at him, her eyes watering a little from the effort of trying to see. "I did it…" she gasps, a little surprised.

Brian gives her a soft smile, her shoulders getting a soft squeeze. "Good." He says warmly, before tugging her towards him. Wrapping her up in a brief hug, one arm stays around her shoulders as he turns towards the mouth of the alley. Walking with her, he gives her shoulder another squeeze. "You did great. Now let's get you that bagle." He says with a broad smile.

Peyton blushes. It might be the first time she's ever accomplished something worthy of a hug. "Thanks…" she says, rubbing her head. "And coffee. It… gives me a headache, to do that. Not as bad as last night, not by far, but it's there. Is that normal?" she asks, turning to follow him in search of a bagel.

"Could be. Could not be. We'll see as we explore your power more. I'm assuming you can jump to any number of people. Though I'm guessing those that are farther way are more difficult. Since I was right in front of you, it might have been easier. Garrison was further away from you. But that's all just a guess, I could be completely wrong. And perhaps when you get better at it you could get rid of the headaches completely. But.." Another squeeze on her shoulder. "At least you'll never need to use a mirror ever again." He says with a grin.

"Haha. Very funny," she says with a chuckle. "Ooh, bagels," she says, pointing to one of the ubiquitous bagel shops in New York. She steers them in, ordering cheerfully a Jalapeno Cheese bagel with cream cheese and a large coffee, into which she stirs three creams and five Splenda packets. While stirring, she tilts her head and focuses on the girl spreading cream cheese on her bagel, watching from the other woman's perspective — there's one way to make sure nothing bad happens to your food! She returns her focus to her own field of vision, and heads up to the counter to retrieve the bagel as Brian pays.

After ordering his own bagle and paying, Brian steps back to Peyton. Tilting his head at her he grins a bit. "Did you practice again?" He says, noticing her dialated eyes for just a moment. " I thought you 'never wanted to use it'. But you're going to have to admit. Powers are fun." He says, taking his own bagel in hand and walking next to her.

She blushes. "Well. I don't. Kind of. I mean, I don't plan on using it a lot — but I need to practice, don't I? If I don't want it to take me over again… it was easier that time, to get back to me," she says quietly, pushing outside again. "The idea of it taking me over when I don't want it to, leaving me blind… that's scarier than just using it in small doses. I still can't see what's in front of me, when I use it." She takes a few more steps, sipping her coffee gratefully. "Thanks," she says, lifting it to him in a kind of toast. "And… thanks." She gestures toward her eyes, with her bagel.

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